Giovanni Giacalone
Eyes everywhere

The Biden administration, the Obama legacy, and Hamas

Barack Obama at the White House with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2022 (screenshot taken from YouTube, free for use on a commercial platform in accordance with Clause 27a of copyright law. Source: ).

The issue of Washington withholding the shipment of essential munitions from Israel due to concerns about “possible civilian casualties” in Rafah generated a backlash on the Biden administration, which is now being attacked by multiple sides, including the pro-Israel community in the US, and the moderate Democrats.

The attempt to stop Israel from entering Rafah and eradicating Hamas is starting to cause more damage than benefit to Biden’s upcoming election run. The current President might surely be worried about the votes in Michigan and Minnesota, but given the predictable backlash that Biden is currently facing, in addition to the Administration’s stubbornness in wanting to withhold the shipment in any case, indicates that the issue may go far beyond the simple number of votes to achieve.

Moreover, on May 7th, an article published on Politico indicated that Washington is holding up shipments of Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munitions — both the munitions and kits that convert them to smart weapons — and Small Diameter Bombs, as indicated by six industry and congressional sources with knowledge of the discussions.

The fact was further confirmed on May 9th by Prof. Alan Dershowitz on “The Dershow”:

“…The irony is that among the weapons being withheld are the so-called “smart bombs”, the kind of bombs that are capable of minimizing civilian damages”. So, here is the message that this administration seems to be sending Israel: we don’t want you to kill civilians, but we are going to send you a bunch of dumb bombs that do kill civilians because they can’t distinguish, but we are going to withhold the smart bombs that would make you more able to kill Hamas members without killing civilians. That’s the punishment we are going to impose on you; that’s not a punishment on Israel, that’s a punishment on the civilians in Gaza”.

As if it was not enough, it also turned out that, even though the latest offer presented to Hamas by Egypt last week was different from the one accepted by Israel days earlier (and unacceptable), Washington did not inform Israel about the changes made, triggering intense Israeli disappointment with the US administration and suspicion regarding its role as a mediator.

The Israeli sources told Axios it had now become clear that Washington and CIA Director William Burns had known about the new document, which had “many new elements” and “looked like a whole new proposal,” but did not tell Israel about its existence. This case was used by Hamas to paint itself as willing to reach a deal and Israel as the headstrong party, as explained by The Times of Israel.

This whole picture outlines serious concerns and raises questions about the reliability of the Biden administration as a so-called ally. Attention, not the United States, the “Biden administration” which is fundamentally the continuation of Obama’s, as it appears clear from its foreign policy in the Middle East.

Many of the men currently active within Washington departments had already held leading positions during the Obama period, such as Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, Brett McGurk, and Susan Rice.

During his presidency, Barrack Hussein Obama opened the doors to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the Middle East (which Hamas is the Palestinian branch), traveling to Ankara just three months after taking office to endorse Erdogan’s Islamist AKP party as “a model of democracy” and “moderate Islam” in the Middle East and the world. Unfortunately, we have all seen what Turkey became under AKP rule.

In June 2009 in Cairo, Obama made a speech entitled “A New Beginning”, in front of an audience which, at the request of his administration, included ten leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. On that occasion, Washington laid the foundations for that “regime-change” initiative that devastated Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

In Egypt, the one-year rule of the MB government led by Mohamed Morsy resulted in a total disaster, with Morsy being accused of high treason, of having opened the country’s doors to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and of relations with Hamas and Hezbollah.

In the summer of 2013, millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding new elections and contesting the Obama administration and the then ambassador Anne Patterson, accused of supporting the Islamist government despite the turmoil. Patterson consequently had to leave Cairo in a hurry.

In January 2015, well after the fall of Morsy, the US State Department hosted a delegation of leaders linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, including Walid el-Sharaby, member of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, Gamal Heshmat, Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery (two senior members of the Brotherhood) and Maha Azzam, president of the Egyptian Council for Revolution, formed in Istanbul in 2014 to counter Abdelfattah al-Sisi.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Obama administration authorized the sending of $1.7 billion in cash to the Iranian regime and released approximately $100 billion in frozen assets, thus strengthening Iranian industry. Predictably, Tehran also used the money to strengthen Hamas, the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria.

Going back to the current situation and Iran, it is worth recalling that despite the attack perpetrated by the Iranian regime against Israel on April 13th, with over 320 missiles and drones, just two weeks later a US delegation held negotiations with its Iranian counterpart to discuss Iran’s nuclear issue, the reduction of tensions in the region, and Tehran’s ability to maintain calm in the Gaza Strip in return for restoring the earlier unwritten agreement on the nuclear deal between Tehran and Washington.

It is therefore not difficult to understand why the Biden administration is trying to prevent Israel from eradicating Hamas, and this is one more reason why Israel must go all the way and finish off the Palestinian terrorist organization.

About the Author
Giovanni Giacalone is a senior analyst in Islamist extremism and terrorism at the Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies-Catholic University of Milan, at the Europe desk for the UK-based think tank Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism, and a researcher for Centro Studi Machiavelli. Since 2021 he is the coordinator for the "Latin America group" at the International Institute for the Study of Security-ITSS. In 2023 Giacalone published the book “The Tablighi Jamaat in Europe”.
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